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Sentence Completions

Choose the word or set of words that, when inserted in the sentence, best fits the meaning of the sentence as a whole. 

Cover the answer choices so that you can read the sentence carefully without any distractions.  Then make a prediction for the blank that seems easier.  Check that prediction against your answer choices.  Use the same process for the other blank.  Make sure that you have examined each answer choice, even if you find one of your predictions among the answer choices.

Observing the newspaper’s tradition of ------- attention to accuracy, the reporter ------- every statement made by her informant.

Start with the first blank if it seems easier than the second blank.  A newspaper is intended to accurately report the news, so you could predict that it has a tradition of “careful” attention to accuracy.  Look down at your answer choices.

(A) scrupulous . . verified
(B) lax . . challenged
(C) sporadic . . corroborated
(D) systematic . . bungled
(E) inordinate . . exaggerated

(A) matches your prediction.  Keep it.  (B) is the opposite of your prediction.  Eliminate it.  (C) does not match your prediction.  Eliminate it.  (D) matches your prediction.  (E) might have something to do with taking care.  If you are not sure, keep it.

Look now at the second blank.  The reporter is doing something to every statement that her informant says.  If she wants to be sure that her information is accurate, she will check each statement against the known facts.  Use the word “checked” as your prediction, and look down at the answer choices that remain.

(A) scrupulous . . verified
(D) systematic . . bungled
(E) inordinate . . exaggerated

(A) matches your prediction.  (D) and (E) do not match your prediction and would not mean that the reporter observed a tradition of careful attention to accuracy.

The correct answer is (A).

Words used in this SC:
Scrupulous: exact and careful, painstaking
Verified: confirmed
Lax: lenient
Challenged: questioned
Sporadic: rare or scattered
Corroborated: confirmed
Systematic: planned and ordered
Bungled: did something poorly
Inordinate: excessive or extreme
Exaggerated: overstated


On sat.collegeboard.org, 70% of the responses were correct.

For more help with SAT math, visit www.myknowsys.com!

Sentence Completions

Choose the word or set of words that, when inserted in the sentence, best fits the meaning of the sentence as a whole. 

Always cover the answer choices so that they do not influence your thoughts as you examine the sentence.  Read the sentence carefully, looking for clues to predict the answer that belongs in the blank.  After you make your prediction, match it to the correct answer choice.  Eliminate answers that do not match.  Be sure to compare your prediction to all the answer choices, even if one seems to match perfectly. 

Those scholars who believe that the true author of the poem died in 1812 consider the authenticity of this particular manuscript ------- because it includes references to events that occurred in 1818.

What do sentence completion questions test?  They test both vocabulary and logic.  When you read this sentence, did anything seem odd about the dates that are mentioned?  Can an author who died in 1812 refer to events that happened in 1818?  It seems unlikely, and that is exactly what scholars are going to think about the authenticity of this version of the poem: it is unlikely.  Use the word “unlikely” as your prediction, and look down at your answer choices.

(A) ageless
(B) tenable
(C) suspect
(D) unique
(E) legitimate

(A)  Does ageless mean unlikely?  No.  Eliminate it.  (B) Does tenable mean unlikely?  No; it almost means likely.  (C) The word suspect has more than one meaning.  When suspect is used as an adjective, and all the answer choices are adjectives, it matches your prediction.  (D) Unique does not mean unlikely.  (E) Legitimate does not match your prediction and it is the opposite of what the scholars from the sentence will believe.

The correct answer is (C).

Words used in this SC:
Authenticity: genuineness
Ageless: continuing indefinitely
Tenable: capable of being justified or defended
Suspect: viewed with suspicion, doubtful
Unique: having no equal, unparalleled
Legitimate: valid

On sat.collegeboard.org, 55% of the responses were correct.

For more help with SAT vocabulary, visit www.myknowsys.com!

Sentence Completions

Link of the Day

This is an exciting time of year as people take the time to vote on the officials to represent them on both local and national levels.  Have you ever thought about what a massive undertaking it is to organize the voting privileges of so many people?  How much technology is involved in the process?  What do the candidates do as they wait for the results of the election?  Think about these questions as you read this article, then think about how you might relate this current event to an SAT essay prompt through the use of broad themes.

11/6 Sentence Completions

Choose the word or set of words that, when inserted in the sentence, best fits the meaning of the sentence as a whole. 

Never look at the answer choices to sentence completion questions before reading the sentence carefully and making a prediction to fill the blank.  Once you have a prediction, you can match the prediction to the correct answer choice and eliminate any answer choices that do not match.  Be sure to look at all of the answer choices even if your prediction matches one of the first ones.

The radical ideas in Henderson's speech were ------- to those assembled, inciting many in the crowd to anger and some to open rebellion.

There are two types of sentence completion questions: vocabulary and logic.  This one is a vocabulary question; it tells you the definition of the word in the blank after the comma.  You know that the speech incited many people to anger and open rebellion.  How would you describe how the crowd viewed the ideas in the speech?  You can use the general prediction “causing anger and rebellion” as your prediction if a single word does not come to mind, or you could pick more specific words such as “angering” or “instigating.”  Look down at your answer choices and see which ones match your prediction.

(A) exhilarating
(B) sympathetic
(C) gratifying
(D) inflammatory
(E) tiresome

(A) Does exhilarating mean angering? No.  Eliminate it.  (B) Does sympathetic mean angering?  No.  Eliminate it.  (C) Does gratifying mean angering?  No.  Eliminate it.  (D) Does inflammatory mean angering?  Yes.  If you don’t know, you still keep the word as a choice.  (E) Does tiresome mean angering?  No. Eliminate it.

The correct answer is (D).

Words used in this SC:
Exhilarating: thrilling
Sympathetic:  compassionate or empathetic
Gratifying: pleasing
Inflammatory: provoking or arousing anger
Tiresome: boring or annoying


On sat.collegeboard.org, 74% of the responses were correct.

For more help with SAT vocabulary, visit www.myknowsys.com!

Sentence Completions

Choose the word or set of words that, when inserted in the sentence, best fits the meaning of the sentence as a whole. 

Use the same method for every sentence completion question.  First, cover the answers. Then make a prediction for the easier blank.  Eliminate any answer choices that do not match your prediction for that blank.  Next, use the same method for the second blank.  Check each remaining answer choice until you have eliminated all but the correct answer.

Even those who do not ------- Robinson’s views ------- him as a candidate who has courageously refused to compromise his convictions.

Start with the second blank if it seems easier than the first.  How are people going to feel about a candidate who is described as “courageous?”  They are definitely going to respond positively.  The verb in the second blank must be positive.  You can start with a vague prediction.  Look down at the second part of each answer choice.

(A) shrink from . . condemn
(B) concur with . . recognize
(C) profit from . . dismiss
(D) disagree with . . envision
(E) dissent from . . remember

(A) is negative; eliminate it.  (B) is positive, keep it.  (C) is negative; eliminate it.  (D) is positive; keep it.  (E) is neutral.  Normally you can eliminate words that are neutral, but if you are not sure about a word you can always keep it.

Now look at the first blank.  The sentence starts with the words “even those.”  This is setting up a contrast with the second part of the sentence.  It makes sense that people who agree with this candidate would point out his courage.  However, the “even those” phrase tells you that it is surprising that certain people think that the candidate is courageous.  Do people who disagree with a candidate often point out his strengths?  No!  So it would be surprising if people who did not agree with Robinson pointed out his courage.  Use “agree with” as your prediction and look down at the answer choices that remain.

(B) concur with . . recognize
(D) disagree with . . envision
(E) dissent from . . remember

(B) matches your prediction.  (C) is the opposite of your prediction, and it creates a double negative in the original sentence.  (E) is also the opposite of your prediction.

The correct answer is (B).

Words used in this SC:
Condemn: to pronounce guilty, convict
Concur: to unite or agree (in action or opinion)
Dismiss: to order to leave, or to reject
Envision: imagine
Dissent: to disagree, to differ from


On sat.collegeboard.org, 50% of the responses were correct.

For more help with SAT vocabulary, visit www.myknowsys.com!

Sentence Completions

Choose the word or set of words that, when inserted in the sentence, best fits the meaning of the sentence as a whole. 

Cover the answers to sentence completion questions before you read the sentence.  Use the sentence to make a prediction about the word that will fill the blank, then match your prediction to the correct answer choice.  Eliminate any choice that does not match your prediction.  Check all the answers, even if you find one answer that seems right.

The ballet stage is a bright, seemingly weightless world where gravity is continually being------- by the dancers.

This sentence describes the stage as a “weightless world.”  In a weightless world, how would dancers respond to gravity?  They would not need it!   Try using the word “disregarded” or “ignored” as your prediction for the blank.  Then look down at your answer choices.

(A) prolonged
(B) reapportioned
(C) unbalanced
(D) reflected
(E) defied

There is only one answer that matches your prediction.  Ask yourself whether each word means “disregarded,” and eliminate any that do not have that meaning.  If you are not sure about an answer choice, think about what it would mean in context.  (A) means that the dancers would somehow continue the power of gravity, which does not match your prediction.  (B) indicates a change in the gravity, but the gravity is still in charge of this supposedly “weightless world.” (C) creates an odd picture: unbalanced gravity would be strong in some areas and not in others.  Dancers would careen crazily rather than move weightlessly.  (D) seems to increase the power of gravity rather than diminish it. (E) shows that the dancers are achieving weightlessness by ignoring or rejecting gravity.

The correct answer is (E).

Words used in this SC:
Prolonged: caused to continue longer
Reapportioned: to distribute anew
Unbalanced: unstable
Reflected: reproduced or cast back
Defied: resisted, challenged, or rejected


On sat.collegeboard.org, 73% of the responses were correct.

For more help with vocabulary, visit www.myknowsys.com!

Sentence Completions

Choose the word or set of words that, when inserted in the sentence, best fits the meaning of the sentence as a whole. 

Always cover your answer choices before reading the sentence so that your mind will be clear and unbiased.  Read the sentence carefully, looking for clues to help you predict a word to fill the blank.  Match your prediction to the correct answer choice, and eliminate any words that do not match.  Be sure to check all 5 answer choices, even if you think choice A matches.

Many of today’s physicians and patients are ------- high technology, captivated by computer-designed drugs and laser surgery.

If you only read the first part of this sentence, anything could fit in the blank.  However, the second part of the sentence contains the key word “captivated.”  If you know the meaning of the word “captivated,” you know what belongs in the blank.  Use the words in the sentence for the most precise predictions.  You know that the physicians and patients are “captivated by” high technology, so use that as your prediction and look at the answer blank.  If you do not know what the word captivate means, try to think about whether it is positive or negative.  Make at least a vague prediction about the blank.

(A) nervous about
(B) defensive about
(C) tolerant of
(D) enamored of
(E) overwhelmed by

There is only one answer that matches your prediction and only one answer that is definitely positive.

The correct answer is (D).

Words used in this SC:
Captivate: to charm, to attract and hold interest
Nervous: anxious
Defensive: protective
Tolerant: accepting
Enamored: in love with or captivated by
Overwhelmed: overcome by something, unable to deal with it

On sat.collegeboard.org, 62% of the responses were correct.

For more help with vocabulary, visit www.myknowsys.com!

Sentence Completions

Link of the Day

Your SAT essay should include one current event as an example to show that you are well informed about the world.  Look for broad themes in current events, things like safety, science, accountability, justice, authority, and facing disaster.  One current event that connects to all of the things just listed is the reaction of an Italian court to an earthquake.  The court jailed scientists for not warning people of impending danger.  Read this article and think about all the ways that it could relate to previous SAT essay prompts.  Write down and memorize any facts you would need to use this as an excellent example for your SAT essay.

10/25 Sentence Completions

Choose the word or set of words that, when inserted in the sentence, best fits the meaning of the sentence as a whole. 

Always cover your answers before you read the sentence so that they do not prejudice your thought.  Read the sentence carefully.  If there are two blanks, predict an answer to the one that seems easier to you.  Eliminate any answers that do not match your prediction.  Then use the same process with the other blank.  Always consider all of your choices, even if your prediction matches one choice exactly.

Scientists are studying the birth and growth of thunderstorms to discover what causes the difference between showers that enable crops to ------- and ------- storms that cause floods and erosions.

Look at the first blank.  Rain showers “enable” crops to do something.  What do crops do when they get a sufficient amount of water?  They grow!  Use the word “grow” as your prediction and look down at your answer choices.

(A) flourish . . violent
(B) wither . . damaging
(C) grow . . harmless
(D) parch . . severe
(E) multiply . . essential

(A) matches your prediction.  Something that is flourishing is growing.  (B) is the opposite of your prediction.  Eliminate it.  (C) is exactly the word you predicted, but always check all of the answer choices.  Remember that many words have synonyms.  Your prediction is intended to eliminate words that do not match; it is not always the correct answer.  (D) does not match your prediction.  It does not make sense that showers would parch crops.  Eliminate this answer choice.  (E) is connected to the idea of growth, so do not eliminate it just yet.

Now look at your second blank.  You need a word to describe the storms that cause floods and erosions.  Both of the results of these storms are negative and even dangerous.  Do not spend too much time thinking of the perfect word; you can just predict the word “bad” when you know that the answer must be negative.  Look down at the choices that you have not yet eliminated.

(A) flourish . . violent
(C) grow . . harmless
(E) multiply . . essential

Only one of your answer choices is negative.  (A) is negative, (C) is neutral, and (E) is positive.

The correct answer is (A).

Words used in this SC:
Flourish: to thrive or grow well
Wither: to shrivel up
Parch: to dry out or scorch
Severe: very bad or intense
Essential: necessary


On sat.collegeboard.org, 74% of the responses were correct.

For more help with SAT vocabulary, visit www.myknowsys.com!

Sentence Completions

Choose the word or set of words that, when inserted in the sentence, best fits the meaning of the sentence as a whole. 

Cover your answer choices before you read the sentence so that they do not distract you.  Then read the sentence carefully, and predict an answer to fill the blank.  Match that prediction to the correct answer choice, eliminating any answers that do not match.  Be sure to look at all 5 answer choices before selecting an answer.

Everyone who saw the play agreed that the lead actor’s performance was especially
------- : it was so deeply affecting that it moved many audience members to tears.

There are two types of sentence completion questions: vocab-based and logic-based.  Vocab-based questions include the definition of the word that belongs in the blank, usually after a comma or semi-colon.  This sentence uses a colon, but you should be able to realize that the word in the blank must show how the performance “was so deeply affecting that it moved many audience members to tears.”  You could predict the word “affecting” or the word “moving” for the blank.  Look down at your answer choices.

(A) negligible
(B) insipid
(C) poignant
(D) amiable
(E) receptive

Even if you do not know all of the words in your answer choices, eliminate those that are too negative or too positive.  (A) If “negligible” sounds negative to you, eliminate it. The performance was a success if it was moving.  (B) You may realize that “insipid” is also a negative word and can be eliminated.  (C) If this word is unfamiliar, keep it.  (D) Have you ever heard of someone’s smile being described as “amiable?”  If so, eliminate this choice because this performance induces tears.  (E) This word describes the audience, not the performance, so it can be eliminated.  Remember not to guess on an SAT question unless you can eliminate at least two choices.

The correct answer is (C).

Words used in this SC:
Negligible: too small or unimportant to be of concern
Insipid: boring or bland
Poignant: affecting or moving
Amiable: friendly
Receptive: taking in knowledge or ideas


On sat.collegeboard.org, 58% of the responses were correct.

For more help with SAT reading questions, visit www.myknowsys.com!

Sentence Completions

Choose the word or set of words that, when inserted in the sentence, best fits the meaning of the sentence as a whole. 

Cover up your answers and carefully read the sentence.  When a sentence completion question has two blanks, you will choose the blank that seems easier, predict a word to fill that blank, and then match that prediction to the answer choices.  Eliminate any choices that do not match.  Then go back to the other blank and follow the same process.  The only difference is that you do not need to look at any of the answer choices that have already been eliminated.  Remember to look at all the answer choices that have not been eliminated, even if you make a prediction that perfectly matches one choice.

A dictatorship ------- its citizens to be docile and finds it expedient to make outcasts of those who do not ------- .

This sentence completion question is about a dictatorship.  The second blank may be a little easier to think about:  What kind of people would be outcasts in a dictatorship?  Anyone who does not obey the dictatorship!  Use “obey” as your prediction and look down at the second part of all of your answer choices.

(A) forces . . rebel
(B) expects . . disobey
(C) requires . . conform
(D) allows . . withdraw
(E) forbids . . agree

(A) and (B) are the opposite of your prediction.  Eliminate them.  (C) matches your prediction.  (D) does not directly concern obedience, so you can eliminate it.  (E) is not a perfect match, but you can hang onto any choices that you are not sure about.

Now look at the first blank.  In a dictatorship, do citizens have any kind of choice?  No.  Even if you are not sure about the meaning of the word “docile,” you can eliminate anything that is not a forceful word for this blank.  Think about how the word “docile” relates to your second blank.  If the dictatorship is making outcasts of those who do not obey, it makes sense to say that they are forcing people to obey.  It is logical to predict that the word “docile” has something to do with obeying authority.  A good prediction for the blank would be “makes” or “forces.”

Note: Your prediction exactly matches (A), but you already eliminated (A)!  Look for synonyms in the remaining answer choices that have not yet been eliminated.

(C) requires . . conform
(E) forbids . . agree

(C) matches your prediction.  (E) is the opposite of your prediction.

The correct answer choice is (C).

Words used in this SC:
Dictatorship: a government that holds absolute power and control
Docile: obedient or easily taught (Knowsys vocabulary word!)
Expedient: easy, quick, or convenient
Rebel: resist authority
Conform: act according to set rules or act like others
Withdraw: pull back or take back
Forbids: does not allow, prohibits


On sat.collegeboard.org, 67% of the responses were correct.

For more help with SAT vocabulary, visit www.myknowsys.com!

Sentence Completions

Link of the Day

Today’s question of the day is about Frank Lloyd Wright, one of the most famous American architects who ever lived.  Wright would make an excellent historical example for your SAT essay because he experienced a wide range of historical events and clearly articulated his aims in designing both public buildings and private residences.  To learn more about Wright, read some of his biographical information here and look up images of some of his most famous buildings such as Fallingwater, the Guggenheim Museum, and Taliesin.

10/16 Sentence Completions

Choose the word or set of words that, when inserted in the sentence, best fits the meaning of the sentence as a whole. 

Always cover up your answers before you read the sentence.  Read the sentence carefully so that you will be able to predict an answer for the blank.  Then match your prediction to the correct answer choice, eliminating any answers that do not match.  Look at all 5 answer choices even if (A) matches your prediction.

The visually captivating nature of Frank Lloyd Wright’s designs suggests that the architect is a true ------- , infusing his designs with beauty as well as functionality.

After you have read the sentence, think critically about the information it tells you.  The “visually captivating” work this architect did suggests what about him?  You know that he cares about making visuals pleasing.  The sentence goes onto say that his building designs have “beauty,” they are not just functional.  Make a prediction for the blank based on these context clues.  It does not have to be a specific word.  You could predict “lover of beauty” or “lover of art” if no word comes immediately to mind.  Look down at your answer choices.

(A) instigator
(B) nonconformist
(C) intellectual
(D) minimalist
(E) aesthete

(A) and (B) can be eliminated because they do not match your prediction.  Nothing is said about Wright’s originality in this sentence.  (C) also does not match your prediction.  Nothing is said about Wright’s intelligence.  (D) does not match your prediction.  It is far too specific and does not relate to the sentence.  Minimalism may be considered beautiful, but ornate spaces can also be beautiful.  That leaves you with (E).  Even if you do not know the precise definition of the word “aesthete,” this is your best answer because every other choice has been eliminated.  If you have been studying the Knowsys vocabulary, you should connect this word to the word “aestheticism” and quickly realize its meaning.

The correct answer is (E).

Words used in this SC:
Instigator: Someone who starts something (often trouble)
Nonconformist:  Someone who does not go along with established norms for behavior or beliefs
Intellectual: A highly intelligent person who has acquired knowledge
Minimalist: A person who seeks to reduce distractions into something simple
Aesthete: Someone who cultivates sensitivity to beauty in art or nature


On sat.collegeboard.org, 50% of the responses were correct.

For more help with SAT vocabulary, visit www.myknowsys.com!

Sentence Completions

Choose the word or set of words that, when inserted in the sentence, best fits the meaning of the sentence as a whole. 

Never look at the answer choices before reading the sentence.  Instead, use the Knowsys method so that you will not be distracted by wrong answer choices.  The method for approaching a sentence with two blanks is the same as the method for approaching a sentence with one blank; you just repeat the steps!  Choose the easier blank, make a prediction, and then check to see which answer choices match your prediction.  Eliminate any choices that do not match your prediction.  Next, go back to the other blank, make a prediction, and then check to see which of the remaining answer choices match your prediction.  Using this method, you will be able to quickly eliminate many answer choices, even if you do not know every word in the answer choices.

The store manager was ------- when sales dropped for the third year in a row; that was why she ------- our department for its lack of effort.

After reading this sentence, you may decide that the second blank is the easier blank.  If a store manager thinks that a department did not put forth effort, what is she going to do?  She is going to yell at the department!  “Yelled at,” would fit the blank, or you might predict a word such as “berated” or “reprimanded.”  You could use any word that shows that the manager expressed displeasure.  Look down at your answer choices.

(A) indolent . . intimidated
(B) indignant . . upbraided
(C) insolent . . exonerated
(D) indulgent . . castigated
(E) intolerant . . condoned

(A) When someone yells it can be intimidating, but this does not really match your prediction.  Keep any choice that you are not sure about.  (B) matches.  (C) is the opposite of what she would do.  Eliminate it.  (D) matches your prediction, but it is a very strong word.  (E) does not match your prediction.  Also, it would take an exceptionally bad manager to condone behavior that has lowered sales for the three years in a row.  Eliminate it.

Go back the second blank now.  You can tell that this blank will describe the manager.  She is upset, but she has a good reason to be upset: the behavior of the department is cutting into sales.  You can make a general prediction such as the phrase “angry for a good reason,” but if you know a word that means exactly that, use it as your prediction.  Look down at any answer choices that you have not eliminated.

(A) indolent . . intimidated
(B) indignant . . upbraided
(D) indulgent . . castigated

(A) describes the behavior of the department, not the manager. Eliminate it. (B) matches your prediction perfectly. If you have a good vocabulary, you might have predicted this very word. (C) does not match your prediction.  Also, it would be very strange for anyone in an indulgent mood to castigate someone else.  Eliminate it.

The correct answer is (B).

Words used in this SC:
Indolent: habitually lazy
Intimidated: tried to make others fearful
Indignant: showing anger at something unjust or wrong
Upbraided: reproached or criticized severely
Insolent: insulting, rude
Exonerated: freed from guilt
Indulgent: ready to show favor or leniency
Castigated: punished or reprimanded severely
Intolerant: not open to new ideas or certain actions
Condoned: excused or overlooked something wrong


On sat.collegeboard.org, 43% of the responses were correct.

For more help with SAT vocabulary, visit www.myknowsys.com!

Sentence Completions

Choose the word or set of words that, when inserted in the sentence, best fits the meaning of the sentence as a whole. 

Never look at the answer choices before reading the sentence because most of them are wrong, and they will prejudice the way that you read the sentence.  Instead, cover the answers and read the sentence carefully.  Use the words in the sentence to make a prediction for the blank.  Then match your prediction to the answer choices.  Check every choice even if answer (A) or answer (B) seems to fit perfectly.

The professor asked the students to make sure they read the entire novel, both the twelve regular chapters and the extensive ------- materials that the author included at the beginning of the book.

Paraphrase the sentence as you read it:  the professor is asking the students to do a lot of work because he wants them to read both the regular chapters and some extra stuff.  You can predict the word “extra” for the blank before the word materials, but try to make your prediction even more specific.  Where are the materials located?  They are included at the beginning of the book.  You should predict a word like “introductory,” but this is also a good time to remember your root words.  This material comes before the regular material and you know a prefix that means before: “pre-.”  If you run across some difficult words in the answer choices, this knowledge will help you.

(A) proleptic
(B) redacted
(C) prefatory
(D) orthographic
(E) conjunctive

(A) If you don’t know what the word means, then keep it as a possible choice.  The prefix “pro-” means for or forward.  (B) The prefix “re-” means back or again, but this information is at the beginning of the book, so it probably is not a repeat of anything.   Eliminate this choice.  (C) If you aren’t sure about whether this matches your prediction, the prefix “pre-“ lets you know that this choice has something to do with the beginning of something.  Also, try relating unfamiliar words to familiar ones.  “Prefatory” looks like another word that you may know, “preface.” The words are similar enough that it is reasonable to guess that “prefatory” is another form of the word “preface.”  (D) Some of you will recognize the roots in this word.  “Ortho” means straight or correct while “graph” has to do with writing or drawing.  This choice is distracting because it is on topic and could have something to do with a book, but it does not match your prediction.  (E) Some of you will recognize that “junct” means join.  That would make sense if you were looking at material in the middle of the book, but at the beginning you need an introduction; there is not yet anything to join together.  Eliminate this choice.  Once you have eliminated at least two choices, you can guess on an SAT question. 

The correct answer is (C).

Words used in this SC:
Proleptic: representing the future as if it had already occurred, anticipatory
Redacted: edited or censored
Prefatory: introductory, serving as a preface
Orthographic: pertaining to letters and spelling or a particular map
Conjunctive: connecting


On sat.collegeboard.org, 64% of the responses were correct.

For more help with vocabulary, visit 
www.myknowsys.com!

Sentence Completions

Link of the Day

SAT essay questions prompt you to think critically about the world around you.  They ask general questions that require specific reasoning in order to defend a position.  Is there always another point of view?  Is the world changing for the better?  How should we relate to authorities?  Can ordinary people solve problems affecting their nations?  Should people give up if they are not making progress towards their goals?  Think about these questions as you read this article about a struggle for peace in the Philippines.  What are the major themes in this article that would allow this current event to relate to the questions above?  

7/10 Sentence Completions

Choose the word or set of words that, when inserted in the sentence, best fits the meaning of the sentence as a whole. 

Always cover your answer choices until you have read the sentence carefully and made a prediction for one of the blanks in the sentence.  Start with the easiest blank and match your prediction for it to the corresponding answer choices, eliminating any that do not match.  Then use the same process with the second blank.  Always check all of your answer choices that have not yet been eliminated.

True to her altruistic beliefs, Natalie ------- the ------- attitude of her colleague that a client represented nothing more than a source of income and an opportunity for advancing one’s professional reputation.

This sentence is much easier if you understand the word used to describe Natalie’s beliefs: “altruistic.”  However, even if you do not know what altruistic means, you can still predict answers for both of the blanks.  Look at the first blank.  Natalie did something about the attitude of her colleague.  Notice the phrase used to describe that attitude: “a client represents nothing more than….”  Did you pick up on the negativity?  The phrase “nothing more” suggests that a client could be so much more than the following opinion.  Natalie thinks negatively about her colleague’s opinion.  Look down at the first blank from each of your answer choices.

(A) applauded . . conscientious
(B) condoned . . aggressive
(C) lamented . . mercenary
(D) adopted . . egotistical
(E) belittled . . magnanimous

(A), (B), and (D) can all be eliminated because they are not negative; they show approval for the colleague’s opinion.  Turn your attention to the second blank.  You need a word to describe the colleague’s attitude.  What is the colleague focused on?  Natalie’s colleague only cares about money and personal gain.  You might predict the word “greedy” for the second blank.  Look down at your remaining answer choices.

(C) lamented . . mercenary
(E) belittled . . magnanimous

(C) matches your prediction.  (E) is the opposite of the colleague’s attitude. 

The correct answer is (C).

Words used in this SC:
Altruistic: concerned about others
Applauded:  expressed approval for
Conscientious: careful or thoughtful
Condoned: to overlook an offense
Aggressive: attacking
Lamented: mourned
Mercenary: acting for money or other reward
Adopted: accepted, made one’s own
Egotistical: self-centered
Belittled: disparaged
Magnanimous: generous, noble


On sat.collegeboard.org, 39% of the responses were correct.

For more help with vocabulary, visit 
www.myknowsys.com!

Sentence Completions

Link of the Day

Did you get  a chance to watch the first presidential debate?  Politics can be divisive and emotionally-charged, but they are still important to talk about.  Without dialogue a democracy cannot function.  The presidential debates can be a great current event to show SAT essay graders that you are a well-informed student.  If you stick to the facts, rather than making broad statements about which candidate is better or which candidate cares more about people, you can make a point without being offensive.  Read this article and think about the way that it focuses on facts.  Knowing facts to use with your examples on the SAT essay is key to making your essay stand out.

10/4 Sentence Completions

Choose the word or set of words that, when inserted in the sentence, best fits the meaning of the sentence as a whole. 

Never look at the answer choices and let a wrong answer prejudice the way that you think about a question.  Instead, cover the answers, read the entire sentence carefully, and predict an answer.  Then match your prediction to the correct answer choice, eliminating any answers that do not match.  Look at all 5 answer choices, even if one seems to match your prediction perfectly.

Food can be ------- element in family life, bringing us together in times of trouble and in times of joy.

There are two main types of sentence completion questions: vocabulary-based and logic-based.  This is a great example of a vocabulary based sentence.  It is short and straightforward, and it includes the definition of the word that will fill the blank.  Notice that the author writes of food as “bringing us together.”  Knowing that, what kind of element will food be? It must be something that “brings people together” or “gathers” them.  Use the phrase “a gathering” as your prediction and look down at your answer choices.

(A) an addictive
(B) a conflicting
(C) a unifying
(D) a residual
(E) an inconsistent

(A) Does addictive mean gathering? No.  Eliminate it.  (B) Does conflicting mean gathering? No.  Eliminate it.  (C) Does unifying mean gathering?  Yes.  Keep it and quickly check the other answer choices.  (D) Does residual mean gathering? No.  Eliminate it.  (E) Does inconsistent mean gathering? No.  Eliminate it.Bottom of Form

The correct answer is (C).

Words used in this SC:
Addictive: habit-forming
Conflicting: being in opposition
Unifying: bringing together or making one
Residual: left over
Inconsistent: not dependable


On sat.collegeboard.org, 83% of the responses were correct.

For more help with the SAT, visit 
www.myknowsys.com!

Sentence Completions

Choose the word or set of words that, when inserted in the sentence, best fits the meaning of the sentence as a whole. 

Always cover up the answers before you read the sentence.  Read carefully.  Normally, a two-blank sentence will require two passes.  Make a prediction for one blank and eliminate any answer choice that does not match your prediction, then do the same for the second blank.  However, sometimes the two answer blanks will have a direct relationship.  Check for that kind of relationship.  Check all your answer choices even if one seems to be correct.

Until Florence Nightingale made nursing ------- , it was considered a ------- profession.

After you have read the whole sentence, you can see that the two blanks must directly contrast one another.  A change has happened.  Nursing was considered one thing “until” Florence Nightingale changed it.  There aren’t too many vocabulary clues about the words that fill the blanks, but look at the first blank.  If you know anything about Florence Nightingale from history, you know that her effect on nursing was positive.  If you do not know anything about Florence Nightingale, you still know that the SAT is not going to insult anyone in nursing by implying that it is currently a poor career choice, so you still know that the first blank must be positive.  If the other blank directly contrasts the first, it will have to be a negative word.  Look down at your answer choices.

(A) scientific . . painstaking
(B) essential . . dangerous
(C) noble . . lofty
(D) patriotic . . worthy
(E) respectable . . degrading

(A)  The word scientific is neutral, not positive (it is hard to show a contrast with a neutral word).  There is also no direct contrast because something that is scientific can also be painstaking.  Eliminate A.  (B)  Essential and dangerous are not contrasting words.  Eliminate B. (C)  These words are both positive rather than positive and negative.  They are also too close in meaning to contrast each other.  Eliminate C.  (D)  Both of these words are positive.  Eliminate D. (E) The first word is positive and the second word is negative.  They show a direct contrast.

The correct answer is (E).

Words used in this SC:
Painstaking: carefully attentive to details
Essential: necessary
Noble: honorable or aristocratic
Lofty: high or idealistic
Worthy: having value
Respectable: deserving regard
Degrading: lowering one’s social position


On sat.collegeboard.org, 70% of the responses were correct.

For more help with SAT reading questions, visit 
www.myknowsys.com!

Sentence Completions

Choose the word or set of words that, when inserted in the sentence, best fits the meaning of the sentence as a whole. 

Always cover up the answers before you read the sentence.  Most of them are wrong, and you do not want them to prejudice the way that you read the sentence.  Then read the sentence carefully and predict an answer for one blank. Start with the easier blank!  Eliminate any answer choices that do not match your prediction, then return to the second blank and follow the same process.  Even if you do not know the meaning of all the words, you will be able to eliminate answer choices and increase your odds of getting the question right if you use this method.

Demographers and anthropologists have corrected the notion that European explorers in North America entered a ------- territory by showing that the land in some areas was already as densely ------- as parts of Europe.

If you have read carefully, you should already know the answer to the following question: what is this sentence about?  It is about demographers and anthropologists who are correcting a notion.  What do demographers and anthropologists study?  People.  Reading carefully will also show you that there is a contrast between the two blanks.  The demographers and anthropologists are correcting the notion that one thing is true by showing that something else is true.

The second blank seems easier to think about than the first blank.  You know that demographers and anthropologists are concerned with people, so what kind of density are they looking for?  A large group of people living in one area.  That could make a general prediction, but you can also make a more specific prediction.  A large group is a population, so predict the word, “populated” for the blank.  Look down at your answer choices.

(A) fertile . . settled
(B) colossal . . wooded
(C) desolate . . populated
(D) valuable . . exploited
(E) hostile . . concentrated

(A) matches your prediction.  (B) does not match your prediction.  Anthropologists care about people, not trees.  Eliminate it.  (C) matches your prediction exactly.  Remember that both blanks must match before you can be certain that you have the correct answer.  (D) does not match your prediction.  It is a much more negative word than either “populated” or “settled.”  Eliminate it. (E) seems as if it could fit, even though it doesn’t directly deal with people, so keep it to evaluate the next blank.
There are not as many clues in the sentence to help you predict the second blank, but you know that it must directly contrast the second.  Look down at the choices that you have left:

(A) fertile . . settled
(C) desolate . . populated
(E) hostile . . concentrated

(A) Is fertile the opposite of settled? No.  People often settle in fertile areas.  Eliminate it.  (C) Is desolate the opposite of populated? Yes.  Keep it and check the last answer choice.  (E) Is hostile the opposite of concentrated?  No.  Eliminate it.

The correct answer is (C).

Words used in this SC:
Dense: crowded, close together
Fertile: fruitful, able to produce
Settled: to become fixed somewhere
Colossal: enormous, immense
Desolate: deserted, without inhabitants, lifeless
Exploited: to be taken advantage of
Concentrated: intense or gathered together


On sat.collegeboard.org, 66% of the responses were correct.

For more help with vocabulary, visit www.myknowsys.com!

Sentence Completions

Link of the Day

Technology makes an interesting current event for your SAT example, but have you thought about how technology can influence the way that history is understood? A new iPad app allows users to scrutinize slices of Einstein's brain. Read this article and think about the numerous themes that could relate this current event to an SAT essay prompt.

9/25 Sentence Completions

Choose the word or set of words that, when inserted in the sentence, bestfits the meaning of the sentence as a whole.

When you must answer a sentence completion question, your first step should be to cover the answer choices. Do not be distracted or influenced in the way you think about the sentence by wrong answer choices. Instead, read the entire sentence carefully, looking for clues that will help you predict the kind of word that belongs in the blank. If the sentence has two blanks, choose the easier one, make a prediction, and use that prediction to eliminate any answer choices that do not match your prediction. Then go back and use the same method with the other blank.

Barbara McClintock’s systematic examination of corn demonstrated the transposition of genes, a finding that overturned entrenched beliefs and proved that ------- study may produce brilliant insights and ------- change.

This sentence is full of clues about the words that should fill the blanks. Look at the first blank, and ask yourself what kind of study Barbara used to find out about corn and genes. The sentence has already described Barbara’s study as a “systematic examination.” Rather than spending time thinking of a synonym for “systematic,” use the word you are given as a prediction for the first blank. Then look down at your answer choices, and eliminate any answers that do not match the word “systematic.”

(A) haphazard . . radical
(B) inherent . . controversial
(C) improvised . . startling
(D) methodical . . revolutionary
(E) derivative . . gradual

(A) Does haphazard mean systematic? No. It means the opposite. Eliminate it. (B) Does inherent mean systematic. No. Eliminate it. (C) Does improvised mean systematic? No. It means the opposite. Eliminate it. (D) Does methodical mean systematic. Yes. This choice matches your prediction. (E) Does derivative mean systematic? No. Eliminate it.

Note that it is possible to eliminate all but the correct answer choice just by looking at one blank. However, if you did not know the meaning of any of the above words, you would still have multiple answer choices remaining. In that case, continue to eliminate choices by looking at the other blank.

What kind of change did Barbara’s finding bring? A finding that “overturned entrenched beliefs” must produce some “surprising” and “completely new” changes. Look now at any answer choices that you have remaining.

(D) methodical . .revolutionary

The word “revolutionary” matches your prediction.

The correct answer is (D).

Words used in this SC:

Haphazard: random, chaotic
Radical: favoring fundamental change
Inherent: due to a permanent or natural attribute
Controversial: causing debate
Improvised: unrehearsed
Methodical: organized, systematic
Revolutionary: radically new, sudden complete change
Derivative: imitative


On sat.collegeboard.org, 73% of the responses were correct.


For more help with SAT vocabulary, visit www.myknowsys.com!

Sentence Completions

Choose the word or set of words that, when inserted in the sentence, best fits the meaning of the sentence as a whole. 

Cover up the answer choices so that you are not distracted by wrong answers, and read the sentence carefully.  When a sentence has two blanks, focus on the one that you find easier.  Make a prediction for that blank and eliminate any answer choices that do not match your prediction.  Then go back and do the same for the other blank. 

To believe that social reforms can ------- evil altogether is to forget that evil is a protean creature, forever assuming a new ------- when deprived of an old one.

If the first blank seems easier to you than the second, start there.  Social reforms are intended to improve society, to do good.  Things that are meant to do good will “destroy,” “uproot,” or “remove” evil.  Notice the word “altogether” after the word “evil.”  Your prediction for the blank does not need to be identical to “destroy,” but it needs to be a strong word rather than a weak word.  You cannot “lessen” something altogether; that is a contradiction in terms.  Look down at your answer choices, but don’t peek at the words for the second blank yet!

(A) rejuvenate . . allegiance
(B) eradicate . . shape
(C) mitigate . . providence
(D) sustain . . episode
(E) dissolve . . abstraction

(A) Does rejuvenate mean destroy?  No.  It means the opposite.  Eliminate it.  (B) Does eradicate mean destroy? Yes.  Keep it.  (C) Does mitigate mean destroy?  No.  Remember that you need a strong word.  (D) Does sustain mean destroy? No. It means the opposite.  Eliminate it. (E) Does dissolve mean destroy? If you aren’t sure, keep it.  

Now move onto the second blank.  Remember what the original sentence said?   It said that believing that social reforms can destroy evil is to forget that evil is protean.  What does that mean?  Don’t worry if you don’t recognize the word "protean" because the sentence goes on to define the word.  Evil is forever getting a new “something” when deprived of an old one.  Clearly evil is changeable, so think of how appearance can be deceiving.  Your prediction might be that evil takes on a new “form.”  Look at the answer choices that you have left.

Bottom of Form
(B) eradicate . . shape
(E) dissolve . . abstraction

(B) Does shape mean form?  Yes. In this case you would be saying that evil changes appearances but is still evil.  It matches.  (E) Does abstraction mean form?  No.  If something is abstract, it does not have a clear form.  It would be difficult to tell whether an abstract thing had changed because it is not concrete, it has no appearance to change.

The correct answer is (B).

Words used in this SC:
Protean: readily assuming different forms, versatile
Rejuvenate: to restore, make young again
Allegiance: loyalty
Eradicate: remove or destroy completely
Mitigate: to lessen
Providence: prudent care
Sustain: to maintain
Episode: a part in a series
Dissolve: destroy, disappear, disband, or change to liquid
Abstraction: an idea apart from concrete reality


On sat.collegeboard.org, 72% of the responses were correct.

For more help with vocabulary, visit www.myknowsys.com!

Sentence Completions

Choose the word or set of words that, when inserted in the sentence, best fits the meaning of the sentence as a whole. 

Always cover the answer choices before you read a sentence completion sentence.  You want to read the sentence with an unprejudiced mind.  Read it carefully and predict an answer to fill one of the blanks (the easier one!).  Then eliminate any answer choices that do not match your prediction for the same blank.  When you come to the other blank, you will be able to ignore the choices you already eliminated as you eliminate any remaining answer choices that do not match your prediction.

The scientist ascribed the ------- of the park’s remaining trees to the ------- of the same termite species that had damaged homes throughout the city.

Did you read the sentence carefully?  If so, you might have paraphrased the sentence as you read it: Something happens to trees due to something of termites that also eat houses.  Termites eat wood.  Look at the first blank.  If you want a really quick and accurate prediction, use the words that are already in the sentence.  Bugs that “damaged” homes are likely to “damage” trees in the park.  Use the word “damage” as your prediction and look down at the first blank.

(A)   decimation . . prevalence
(B)   survival . . presence
(C)   growth . . mutation
(D)   reduction . . disappearance
(E)    study . . hatching

(A) matches your prediction.  (B) and (C) are the opposite.  Eliminate them.  (D) seems iffy.  What is a reduced tree?  You can keep it as an option if you only predicted something negative, but you should eliminate it if you realize that a population of trees can be reduced, or the number of leaves on a tree can be reduced, but the trees themselves are not reduced.  (E) does not match your prediction.  You could talk yourself into believing that the scientists are studying the destruction of trees, so this answer is on topic, but your method should be to eliminate anything that does not match your prediction.  You take the time to make a prediction so that you do not have to take the time to think about the relevance of each of the answer choices.

You only have one answer choice left, but for the sake of practice, look at the second blank.  The damage to trees is due to the _______ of termites.  In order to damage trees, termites have to be there!  Predict a word such as “presence.” Notice that the word “presence” is in a wrong answer choice.  That is perfectly fine.  You are using your prediction to eliminate choices that do not match, not trying to predict the exact word out of numerous synonyms that the SAT test makers might have chosen.  Besides, there is another choice that means “a lot of these things are there,” “prevalence,” and that fits your blank best of all.

The correct answer is (A).  

Words used in this SC:
Decimation: the destruction of a large portion of something
Prevalence: widespread presence
Mutation: a change or alteration, often becoming worse
Reduction: act of lessening something


On sat.collegeboard.org, 63% of the responses were correct.

For more help with writing, visit www.myknowsys.com!

Sentence Completions

Link of the Day

Plants are all around us.  Some of them are useful, some of them are beautiful, and some of them go unnoticed.  Take a look at these flowers and decide for yourself whether they deserve more attention.  This issue would make an excellent example for an SAT essay that concerned progress, points of view, beauty, or diversity.  Can you think of other themes that you could relate to this article?

9/16 Sentence Completions

Choose the word or set of words that, when inserted in the sentence, best fits the meaning of the sentence as a whole.

Cover up your answer choices so that you are not tempted to talk yourself into a wrong answer.  Then read the sentence carefully, and predict an answer to fill the blank.  Match your prediction to the answer choices, eliminating any answers that do not match.  Look at all 5 answer choices even if you think one of the first choices matches perfectly.

A remarkably ------- plant, the soybean yields not only dairylike products, but also flour, cooking oil, and sprouts.

This sentence is about a plant that yields “not only” one thing, “but also” all these other things.  The emphasis in this sentence is on the number of things that this plant produces.  Most of the time you want to make your prediction for the blank as specific as possible; however, you can often find the correct answer even if your prediction is vague.  You can leave your prediction as a phrase, “making a lot of different things,” rather than spending too much time trying to come up with the perfect word to describe this phrase.   Look down at your answer choice and eliminate any that do not match your prediction.

(A) imperishable
(B) resistant
(C) tedious
(D) incessant
(E) versatile

Notice that some words are similar to your prediction without matching your prediction.  Eliminate these distracting answer choices.  Does “imperishable” mean “making a lot of things?” No.  It has the word "perish" in it.  Does “resistant” mean “making a lot of things?” No, it could be seen as the opposite.  Does “tedious” mean “making a lot of things?” No, though making a lot of things could be tedious.  Does “incessant” mean “making a lot of things?” No, though you can make a lot of things if you work incessantly.  Does “versatile” mean “making a lot of things?”  Yes. 

The correct answer is (E).

Words used in this SC:
Yield: (1) produce or (2) surrender
Imperishable: indestructible
Resistant: attempting to resist, counter or withstand something
Tedious: boring, monotonous
Incessant: unending
Versatile: having or capable of many uses


On sat.collegeboard.org, 80% of the responses were correct.

For more help with vocabulary, visit www.myknowsys.com!